The government does not need a warrant to get a person’s past cellphone location information, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
The ruling by the full panel of judges on the circuit is a victory for the U.S. government and makes it less likely that the Supreme Court will take up the case.
The court ruled that law enforcement did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they received a standard court order to obtain 221 days of cellphone information from a Maryland armed robbery suspect’s wireless carrier, Sprint. The information included “cell-site location information,” or CSLI, which provided a rough map of of every location of the suspect’s phone while it was in use.
The court said that Supreme Court has long held that people have no Fourth Amendment protections for information that is voluntarily turned over to a third-party — in this case the suspect’s location information that was held by Sprint.
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